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Injury to Client Starts the Clock

01 Nov 2001

In Romano v. Morrisroe, No. 2-00-0540, 2001 WL 1486729 (Ill. App. 2nd Dist., Nov. 16, 2001), the Illinois Appellate Court held that the statute of limitation for legal malpractice began to run when the client's injury occurred; in this case, when the client lost the underlying declaratory judgment action, not at the time of the attorney's failure to make a timely demand for arbitration under the contractual time limits of the insurance policy. The Appellate Court rejected the application of case law holding that when the injury is "plainly obvious" the statute of limitations begins to run prior to the adverse ruling. Instead, the Court found that time limits in insurance policies are strictly construed and slight circumstances will be held to constitute waiver of such stipulations. Thus, it would not have been clear that injury occurred and that plaintiff was precluded from seeking arbitration, until the declaratory judgment action was decided adversely to her.

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